Harry S. Truman photo

Statement by the President Concerning Demobilization of the Armed Forces.

September 19, 1945

EVERY AMERICAN has an interest in when our soldiers and sailors will return to civilian life. With many of us, this is a personal interest. We all want to feel sure that no one is going to be held in the service a day longer than is necessary to see the job through.

I think we should all be very clear about one thing. An impression has spread that the speed of demobilization is governed by our future needs for occupation and other forces. That is, of course, not true.

No one now can accurately forecast what those needs are going to be. Our earlier estimates are being constantly revised. For example, General MacArthur this week stated that he would be able to handle the occupation of Japan and Korea with half the troops that only a month ago he estimated he would need for that purpose.

Carrying on our demobilization as rapidly as we can--which we are now doing--we shall not really face the problem of the size or makeup of the occupation forces until next Spring. By that time, we ought to know how many men we shall need for occupation and to what extent that need can be met through volunteers.

I think the Army has given all of us good reason for the same confidence in its ability to win the battle of demobilization which we had in its ability to win the war. The day Japan surrendered the Army had to scrap all its plans for an all-out assault and do a right-about face. That was August 14th. In less than one month since then the number of men discharged from the Army each day has risen from 4,200 to more than 15,200. Our soldiers are now being returned to civilian life at a rate in excess of 650 per hour, 24 hours per day. This represents a speedup of better than 375 percent in 30 days. Such a performance justifies full confidence.

The Army's plans call for the return to their homes of more than 2,000,000 soldiers between V-J Day and Christmas, 1945. Between now and Christmas the discharge rate will steadily rise from the present daily figure of 15,200 to not less than 22,000 per day and by January, 1946, to more than 25,000 per day.

The Army and Navy mean to do the task set for them with the minimum number of men. There will be no padding in our armed forces. America is going to keep the full strength she needs for her national commitments. But the rest of the men are coming back home, and coming as fast as the Services can get them out.

Harry S Truman, Statement by the President Concerning Demobilization of the Armed Forces. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230947

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